Hot Chip, ‘In Our Heads’ – Album Review
Now on their fifth studio album, Hot Chip know how to make a thoroughly enjoyable strand of dance music: ‘In Our Heads’ is unapologetically fun while also addressing the most adult of themes -- becoming an adult.
The London band broke out in 2008 with 'Ready for the Floor,' an omnipresent track whose deadpan vocals, big drums and electrifying synths created what you know now as the Hot Chip sound, a style most evident here on how 'How Do You Do.' One of the strengths of the band is their humor, and the 'huhs' and 'hums' of 'Don't Deny Your Heart' are so gloriously goofy that if you weren't already doing the robot, you will be by the time you get to the track's 1984 guitar solo. When vocalist Alexis Taylor asks, "How are we going to move together?" you know he knows he answer: by listening Hot Chip. (And that bongo solo to synth breakdown: phenomenal!)
The lights get a little lower for 'Look at Where We Are," a grown-up love ballad that signals the new phase of life the band members have entered. The dudes are married, have kids -- they're singing the praises of domestic bliss. That's more forthright in the following 'These Chains,' whose chorus consists of "these chains wrapped around my heart / Complete me, baby." They have settled down, and as such, the music is profoundly content, positive and free of drama -- in other words, good.
There's due worry that becoming stationary would produce stagnation, and while most of the listen is familiar -- 'Night and Day' could have been on either of the previous two albums -- the band branches out with its long-form tracks. The seven-minute long 'Flutes' builds with the patience of straight-up electronic dance before Taylor's croon comes on. The beat hits at four minutes in, and you can just see the strobe lights burst.
'Let Me Be Him' is introspective and catchy, with an exhilaratingly Phil Collins-esque “hey oh!” in the chorus and samples of birds tweeting and children playing. The song makes your eyes moist and your mouth grin at the same time. Taylor’s admission that "getting old isn't all it's cracked up be" contrasts with the feeling present, as clearly getting old is going pretty well for the guys. Just after that seven minute high point, 'Always Been Your Love' is the album's cuddly denouement, a multi-layered dedication to faithfulness.
Expanding on their previous work in every way , 'In Our Heads' is whimsical, smart and catchy -- the band's best album thus far.